Very few artists in the world, past or present, have portrayed the delicacy, sensitivity, and mystery of women with the skill and insight of Pati Bannister. In this age she is an unparalleled master of feminine portraiture and exquisite detail, as evidenced by the prints featured for this website.
Pati Bannister was born in north London, England, into a family of accomplished artists. After an early career as an illustrator for children's books and the famous English equestrian publication, Riding, she worked as a special effects artist for the J. Arthur Rank film studios where she further developed a keen and sensitive eye for detail and color mixing, and their impact on all aspects of design and composition in a work of art.
In 1952, Pati Bannister moved to the U.S. and later settled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast overlooking a wildlife sanctuary. There she explores the female psyche, posing the young ladies of her imagination with exotic flowers, gossamer fabrics, and filigreed lace in fine Victorian parlors, beside rain-swept windows, along lone country roads. Her juxtaposition of delicate natural beauty with steadfast matter is a key element of Pati Bannister's unique style and extraordinary popularity.
But it's the intangible quality of her women toward which people of all ages and backgrounds are irresistibly drawn. From innocent child to sensual maiden there exists in Bannister's females an ethereal vulnerability one wants to protect along with an inherent strength one wants to know. Here is an artist who is master of the feminine mystique.
Pati Bannister's continuous endeavor to capture and preserve the tranquility, beauty, and aura of her astute vision through painting and sculpture is the essence of her life. She is pleased to share the results with you.
Getting to know Pati Bannister...
Speaking in her soft British accent, Pati Bannister prefers talking about her pets rather than the talent that has made her an American legend. Despite the fact that her paintings sell for as much as $60,000, Pati remains untouched by her success. She is shy and a trifle bewildered by her status as one of America's leading success.
Listed in Who's Who in American Art and featured in numerous art magazines, Pati Banister paints originals and offers limited edition prints to collectors around the world through New Masters Publishing. Her art is peopled by delicate young women and girls set against a romantically imaginative backgrounds.
She can't remember being particularly encouraged in art as a very young child, but then, most of her childhood memories are centered on World War II. "I was born in Highgate, overlooking London in 1929," she relates, "so I was just nine when the War broke out. My mother sent me to the country, unfortunately the southeast coast, so for a while, I was in the middle of The Battle of Britain. Later, I returned to London---just in time for the Blitz. We children, as a diversion, would see who could pick up the most pieces of shrapnel."
Pati made sketches during her young life, working as an illustrator for the prestigious Riding magazine at the age of thirteen, and ultimately working as an animator for J. Arthur Rank, the moviemaker. "It was a lot like Disney, I guess, but not as sophisticated. I spent a great deal of time working on detail, composition, and color mixing," Pati says.
By the age of 22, Pati wanted to travel and came to America as a governess to a family in Fairfield, Connecticut. She continued to sketch, but moved to Miami to work for Southern Airlines as a stewardess so she could travel more. There, the man who would change her life forever, Glynn Bannister "was hooked one I saw that pretty girl and heard that English accent," he admitted. Rather incidentally, Glynn learned of Pati's talent and instantly recognized it as special.
In 1958, the Bannisters moved to New Orleans because it seemed a good place for Pati to begin a serious career as an artist. Joining many other artists, Pati began painting portraits in Jackson Square. Eventually she assumed the habit of spending rainy days in her studio working, and sunny days selling her art. "Glynn helped me a lot, had a wonderful business sense and adapted his business expertise to the art business extremely well.
Their hard work paid off. Even though Pati's prices were usually higher than other artists, her work quickly became very popular and the Bannisters opened their first, and then a second, gallery in the French Quarter. After several moves to the Gulf Coast, the Bannisters moved to the quiet and privacy of four beautifully wooded acres in the pass Christian area on the Mississippi coast. There, Pati paints in a glassed studio where wild azaleas bloom, several varieties of birds feed, and squirrels play just outside her window.
Pati is an excellent cook and grows herbs and tomatoes in her garden. The remainder of her garden is planted with flowers. Pati's love of flowers is apparent in her paintings. The paintings she now produces of young women and girls feature flowers that seem to bloom on the canvas. Her work has been labeled "magic realism" because of the moods portrayed in her incredibly detailed work.
Pati continues to be intrigued by accurately capturing the transitory quality of light and the moods created by various types of light. She is also very interested in textures of material---both natural and manmade. And, she says, she continues to be drawn to the harmonies and subtleties of colors and shapes. "The subject usually dictates the medium I use. Most of my works are in acrylic or oil. Although I find pastels and watercolors fun and exciting to do, egg tempera is really my favorite."
Pati Bannister captures the moment and mood through her creation of a special world within each painting. In all cases, however, there is a consistency of vision where flowers in full bloom, richly textured fabrics, the sheen of oriental porcelains or the natural beauty of a sunlit landscape, suggest the importance of and need for beauty in the real world.
Here is where Pati Bannister succeeds where few others do. She identifies, selects, elevates and captures beauty in the world in various and magical ways. This is her ultimate gift and the promise of her amazing art.
Pati Bannister has fully retired.